Disneyland Resort honors its overnight workers with a middle of the night party

They were there overnight as usual, but for a couple of hours several hundred-cast members weren’t cleaning and making repairs around the Disneyland Resort.

They are the resort’s third shift overnight cast members, and the resort was honoring them with a party called “Cars Under the Stars – Third Shift Celebration.”

Held in Cars Land, it gave many of the third-shift cast members a chance to ride on its attractions that are normally closed.

“The show goes to sleep when our guests aren’t here,” said Adam Schwerner, the director of the Horticulture and Resort Enhancements departments at the resort.

As part of the celebration, those cast members were treated to food and a drawing for special prizes.

After the party, they went back to work to ready the resort for the next day.

  • Some of the Facilities Maintenance team poses for a photo during the Third Shift Celebration held in Disney California Adventure’s Cars Land early in the morning on Wednesday, August 16. The event was staged by the resort to honor its cast members that work in the middle of the night to clean and maintain the resort when the parks are closed. (Photo by Mark Eades, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Some of the Facilities Maintenance team poses for a photo during the Third Shift Celebration held in Disney California Adventure’s Cars Land early in the morning on Wednesday, August 16. The event was staged by the resort to honor its cast members that work in the middle of the night to clean and maintain the resort when the parks are closed. (Photo by Mark Eades, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Some of the overnight crew at the Disneyland Resort, get a chance to spend a couple hours relaxing in Cars Land during the resort’s Third Shift Celebration held early Wednesday morning, August 16. (Photo by Mark Eades, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Some of the overnight crew at the Disneyland Resort, get a chance to spend a couple hours relaxing in Cars Land during the resort’s Third Shift Celebration held early Wednesday morning, August 16. (Photo by Mark Eades, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Emily Mills (left) of the Resort Enhancement Department at the Disneyland Resort, is handed a donut by Pat Doyle of the Design & Engineering Department during the resort’s Third Shift Celebration held in the middle of the night in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Wednesday, August 16. (Photo by Mark Eades, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Emily Mills (left) of the Resort Enhancement Department at the Disneyland Resort, is handed a donut by Pat Doyle of the Design & Engineering Department during the resort’s Third Shift Celebration held in the middle of the night in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Wednesday, August 16. (Photo by Mark Eades, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Monica Najera (left) and Jessica Flores enjoy some soup in a bread bowl during the Disneyland Resort’s Third Shift Celebration held early in the morning at Disney California Adventure on Wednesday, August 16. The pair work inside the World of Disney store in Downtown Disney restocking the shelves during the night hours when the shop is closed. (Photo by Mark Eades, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Monica Najera (left) and Jessica Flores enjoy some soup in a bread bowl during the Disneyland Resort’s Third Shift Celebration held early in the morning at Disney California Adventure on Wednesday, August 16. The pair work inside the World of Disney store in Downtown Disney restocking the shelves during the night hours when the shop is closed. (Photo by Mark Eades, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Bev Kavanagh, Director of Internal Communications at the Disneyland Resort, shows Mike Bailey of the Disneyland Resort’s Ride Maintenance Department prize he won during the resort’s Third Shift Celebration held in Disney California Adventure’s Cars Land early Wednesday morning August 16. (Photo by Mark Eades, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Bev Kavanagh, Director of Internal Communications at the Disneyland Resort, shows Mike Bailey of the Disneyland Resort’s Ride Maintenance Department prize he won during the resort’s Third Shift Celebration held in Disney California Adventure’s Cars Land early Wednesday morning August 16. (Photo by Mark Eades, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Anna Escalante, who works as part of the overnight custodial crew at the Disneyland Resort, poses with Lightning McQueen during the resort’s Third Shift Celebration held early Wednesday morning, August 16. (Photo by Mark Eades, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Anna Escalante, who works as part of the overnight custodial crew at the Disneyland Resort, poses with Lightning McQueen during the resort’s Third Shift Celebration held early Wednesday morning, August 16. (Photo by Mark Eades, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Some of the overnight crew at the Disneyland Resort, get a chance to spend a couple hours relaxing in Cars Land during the resort’s Third Shift Celebration held early Wednesday morning, August 16. (Photo by Mark Eades, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Some of the overnight crew at the Disneyland Resort, get a chance to spend a couple hours relaxing in Cars Land during the resort’s Third Shift Celebration held early Wednesday morning, August 16. (Photo by Mark Eades, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Disneyland Resort held its Third Shift Celebration, honoring its cast members who work in the middle of the night on maintenance, restocking and cleaning its parks and other areas while the parks are closed. The celebration, called “Cars Under the Stars,” was held in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure early Wednesday morning, August 16. (Photo by Mark Eades, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Disneyland Resort held its Third Shift Celebration, honoring its cast members who work in the middle of the night on maintenance, restocking and cleaning its parks and other areas while the parks are closed. The celebration, called “Cars Under the Stars,” was held in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure early Wednesday morning, August 16. (Photo by Mark Eades, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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Much of the work that is done in the middle of the night, when most people are sleeping, includes preventative maintenance, and taking care of the plants around the resort.

“We mow the lawns at night, we weed-whack at night, we trim the trees, hedges and bushes at night,” Schwerner said.

Much of the night shift wear hats with lights mounted on them.

“We go through batteries like water,” Schwerner said.

The schedule for the third shift has the resort’s cast members usually starting their “night” at 2 a.m. each day, and going home at 10 a.m. after the sun has come up.

Then it’s time for bed, but each person has their own way of sleeping during the day.

“I sleep three hours when I get home and three hours before I come to work,” said Victoria Porras, a gardener on Main Street U.S.A.

Gardening at night has a special hazard too.

“Sometimes I lose my trowel in the planters and have to go back and look for it, everything’s black. I was thinking about painting it with glow in the dark handles,” she said.

Staying awake at night can mean lots of coffee, too, but many cope by focusing on their work, much of which can be major projects.

That includes having to tear up the streets at night to repair buried pipes and cables, or just repaving a street.

Since it’s dark, and the workers need to be able to see while repaving, the resort has some special lights for those situations.

“They’re solar-powered, so they sit backstage and get charged during the day, then we bring them onstage and power them up,” said Chuck Lenz, senior manager of facilities for the Disneyland Resort.

By the time the parks open, the lights are backstage again, getting charged for another night of work, as our third-shift cast members.

“They’re night people, and they like being able to come into the park and getting work done uninhibited by the park being open and some of those other challenges that you have during the day,” he said.

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